I am a competitive individual. I don’t like losing and I did, hence, my delay with this post as I sorted through all my emotions. Today everyone wants you to react fast and provide comments. Sometimes it is good to sit back and think. While the raw Kevin Schmidt would have been entertaining (just ask Nikki she watches the show every day) it certainly would not have been productive.
I have been very fortunate in recent years. Time has removed me from the many challenges I encountered as a kid. Growing up without a dad puts a chip on your shoulder. At times it makes you feel like it is you against the world, even though that was never the case. I had a strong foundation with my mom and other close friends of our family. I have been very fortunate to learn how to deal with those emotions and forgive. It is tough. If I can get over that life disappointment this one should be easy. I believe adversity makes you a better person. The same is true for this election loss.
I have always been the underdog (in this election especially) but my desire to fight to overcome obstacles is as strong as ever. I got in this race because I wanted to make sure our community had a stronger voice. I believe I accomplished that. I accomplished it with amazing support from so many people. ‘Thank You’ does not begin to cover what I owe them.
When you run for political office you expose yourself to criticism and it is not easy. We need to test our politicians but we also need to show some respect for the risk they take. Also, respect them for the time they give. I am not saying this for myself because quite frankly I am not sure I will do this again. I am saying this for all democrats, republicans, and unaffiliated candidates who take that risk and invest that time. Respect it and continue to support them because it comes at a great cost. My former boss Congressman Hyde used to say the biggest gift you can give someone is your time because you can never get it back. It is so true. Think about both Courtney Watson and Allan Kittleman and the investment they made over the past year. They gave the ultimate gift to make sure our County had proper debate on the priorities that are important to us all.
I had incredible people supporting me in so many ways and while it feels great personally, the support you gave me is truly a reflection of your love for our community. We all strive to make it better for our kids and neighbors. At time elections feel like it us against them, but in many ways it unites us. Thank you for letting me be part of that process. Now let’s come together in support of our newly elected leadership.
So let’s get back to the reason I ran…the issues. We must unite behind Jon Weinstein because his success is our success. Support Jon and Allan Kittleman on making sure these issues get addressed in the right way for our community. Here is the list:
- Address the Other Post Employment Benefit (OPEB) liability of $717.2 million. If government is going to provide a benefit it must plan for it. That does not mean pushing off the responsibility to future generations. Do not raise taxes, make tough decisions.
- Transparency on development. Develop a better process for informing and including our community in development decisions. Make it simple and easy. I had a suggestion and I hope it is considered in some form.
- Properly absorb the teacher pensions passed down by the state to the County. This cost will increase to $24 million a year. Again, fund it now and do not pass it on to future generations.
- Reconstitute the Adequate Public Facilities Commission and properly assess our investments in infrastructure for handling development growth. Do not raise taxes, make tough decisions.
- Prevent school redistricting by better planning for this growth. Stop splitting up neighborhoods and sending kids who reside in the same neighborhood to different schools. Preservation of our community and friendships is paramount.
- Do not modify school capacity thresholds to allow new development. Full is full and this should only be allowed if growth projections are planned for in a budget that projects the out year needs. Current growth shows that over $200 million is needed for school infrastructure. School overcrowding will degrade the quality of education if we don’t start addressing this need now.
- Ellicott City flood mitigation. Get back to the basics on the function of government and develop a 10 year plan for historic Ellicott City. Implement common sense solutions by getting authority to get on private land for vegetation management to prevent damming.
- Address parking needs for historic Ellicott City without disrupting business operations. This will get everyone access to Main Street, USA.
- Plan and fund for the high school needed in Elkridge.
- Address Route 1 revitalization. Make sure zoning adequately reflects the community’s needs and encourage businesses to support the community. A market assessment by the Economic development office would be a good first step.
- It is critical that we do not become a county for just the wealthy – it would be a huge detriment to our entire community. Diversity in income levels, ideology, ethnicity and culture are what make Howard County incredible, and give our children the best possible foundation for the global economy of the future. The county MUST find a way to live within its means and stop taxing people out of the county.
This is a lot for our newly elected leadership. Government needs to get back to the basics and control growth in areas where it doesn’t belong. Increase audits and identify that unnecessary growth and spending (like the Route 29 pedestrian bridge, the Roving Radish, buying village centers etc.). It will require a direct, open and honest discussion with all involved. Tell our community what you are not going to do and why. They will respect you for it and so will future generations.
Thank you for allowing me to be the voice for your concerns and vision for the future. It has been a true honor. Kevin